CT Briefs Feature Stories

Voices of Our Elders

Silvia Pasternak reads her poem at a gathering last month at SummerWood.

As activity manager at the Hoffman SummerWood assisted-living community, Robin Lund receives a lot of calls from entertainers
who are eager to work with her residents. Last month, one such request came from local poet Andy Weil, and Lund invited him to do a reading at the facility. The audience was so enthusiastic that Lund asked Weil to lead a weekly poetry-writing workshop, and 10 residents signed up.
The group soon named itself Senior Voices: Expressing through Poetry, and held its first reading of original poems for fellow SummerWood residents last month, followed by a second presentation for family and friends. Next week, the poets will read at West Hartford Fellowship Housing.
“This is helping people who, when they first came here, perhaps were a little bit by themselves, and feeling like a little fish in a big pond and not knowing anyone,” Lund says. “It has created connections and relationships among people who may never have bonded.”
The following are selections of poems written by members of Senior Voices.


By Silvia R. Pasternak, April 21, 2011
First a daughter I was to parents who were the best
And a sister to whom I was sometimes a pest
But of all the joys in my life
Was the day that I became a wife then followed by
becoming a MOTHER
A feeling like no other
When a mother-in-law I became
The feeling of love was still the same
And now I say with lots of glee
The birth of Hayden has made a great-grandma out of me
For all these blessings that are mine
I toast you all with a glass of wine!


By the Senior Voices, Dec. 27, 2010

Round bushes capped by snow
Casting a net of white.
Wisps of wind blow cross the surface
Leaving holes through which to breathe…
Awaiting life’s resurgence.


By Mel Greenland, Jan. 26, 2011

Bound, held by weak knees
Can’t hear too well
Eyes are weak
See less than I saw before
Is there less to see?
What am I missing?
Can’t see no more…
Can’t see no more…
Can’t hardly walk the hall,
And wind up breathing easy.
How to finish this earthly trip,
And settle down?

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